My mind is definitely in packing mode at the moment. Not only am I right in the middle of packing for our upcoming trip to France (we fly next Wednesday) but I’ve also been travelling extensively with my day job.
Last week, as I travelled to an interstate conference with workmates, several conversations reminded me of the ultimate packing mistake.
These particular discussions started with comments from colleagues on my very small case and ended with their confessions of overpacking. It turns out that their weighty cases were primarily due to the fact that my coworkers found it difficult to decide on what they would be wearing to the multiple conference events.
Stories emerged of ‘just in case’ cocktail dresses, ‘spare’ suits and ‘extra’ pairs of shoes.
Being unable to decide on what you are going to wear while you are away makes packing extremely difficult. It sees travellers lugging the extra weight of clothes they won’t wear and only continues the pain – eventually the ‘what will I wear’ decision has to be made.
You don’t have to do too much digging to understand that this overpacking comes from fear based thinking. The words ‘what if’ seem to feature prominently when it comes to overpacking. What if everyone else says they are wearing a frock/pants/high heels? What if I don’t fit in? What if it’s hotter/colder/wetter than I expect? What if I’m uncomfortable? What if I spill dinner down the front of my outfit? What if I feel too skinny/fat/short/tall? What if I change my mind?
The stories we tell ourselves can be debilitating. So – rather than making a decision and sticking to it – we provide ourselves with the insurance that comes with heaps of options. And overpack as a consequence.
So how do you overcome these obstacles and make packing decisions you never regret?
Three Tips To Avoid The Ultimate Packing Mistake
- Develop a signature style. This is the best advice I can offer to help overcome packing fears. Once you are comfortable with your look, and you fill your wardrobe with clothes that you not only love but that look fabulous on you, choosing what to pack becomes so much easier. Having confidence that your signature style looks good also means that you are more likely to stop comparing yourself to others. Comparison is a killer when it comes to fun, happiness and feeling content with your choices.
- Don’t take dressing too seriously. Yes, I know everyone wants to look their best which is an excellent thing. But at the end of the day we are talking about getting dressed and in reality there is not too much you can muck up. Remember that everyone is the star of their own movie and that people are generally thinking more about themselves than they are about you. Wear what you feel comfortable and confident in and it is unlikely that you will go wrong. And along similar lines, really question the need to take every beauty product in your cupboard (or at the very least seek out travel sized products). You usually find that when you are away you start looking for a more relaxed beauty routine anyway.
- Don’t forget that unless you are travelling to somewhere extremely remote (in which case you will no doubt have a very clear idea of the clothes you’ll be looking to pack) you will usually have the opportunity to buy something new. This means that if things really have gone pear shaped – you misread the dress code or you get a last minute invite to some black-tie event (as happened to me once) – you can duck out to the shops. I can promise you that the need to do this doesn’t come up that often. And remembering that you can always buy something can save you from popping too much in your case and feeling like a pack horse as you trudge through the airport.
Have you ever made the ultimate packing mistake by not deciding what you’ll wear before you travel? Do you have additional tips on how to avoid this mistake? Either way, we’d love for you to share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Until next time – au revoir.
Photo credit: Carla Coulson 2015